Tuesday 07 May 2019 04:41:48 PM

Red Squirrels Smiling for the Camara in Tollymore Forest Park
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COUNTY Down’s latest stars in front of the camera will soon be hitting the big screen.

The fascinating private life of the Tollymore Forest Park’s red squirrels will be revealed using the latest technology.

Two top of the range Bushnell wildlife cameras provided by Action for Biodiversity have been supplied to the Red Squirrel Group to help survey the red squirrel population in the area.

The well established and successful squirrel group has been working with the charismatic squirrels since 2004 when there were only 11 red squirrels in the forest.  A survey carried out in 2008 showed that four years of hard work by the volunteers and the forest service had enabled the population to increase to 103 animals.

Janette Adams, Tollymore Red Squirrel Group, Abby McSherry, Down District’s Action for Biodiversity Project Officer, and Angela Drayne, Tollymore Red Squirrel Group, get up close to a red squirrel aka Danielle Begley, Biodiversity Officer with their new specialist cameras.    

Sadly, since then the deadly squirrel pox virus has struck the population and the cameras provided by Action for Biodiversity will help gather data for an up to date picture of numbers and will also provide some wonderful footage for the group to put on their website.

Anne McComb from Tollymore Red Squirrel Group said: “These cameras will help us to survey the area and will also allow us to identify individual squirrels, know more about their habits, identify the way they relate to other animals and  allow us to spot any early signs of new outbreaks of the squirrel pox.

“The mobile light-weight cameras are heavily camouflaged and are highly secure and have been used successfully to monitor and understand wildlife movement and numbers in many areas.

Down District Action for Biodiversity Project officer, Abby McSherry added: “The data coming from these cameras will help to target supplementary feeding where it is most needed and provide valuable records to monitor the success of the feeding and other initiatives.”